Library and Information Science, PhD

The Doctor of Philosophy in Library and Information Science program, in the Department of Information Culture and Data Stewardship (ICDS), prepares students for careers in research, education, and professional practice. The primary purpose of the PhD program is to develop an understanding of library and information science beyond the master’s degree, with particular emphasis on the conduct of original research, the production of significant research findings, and the contribution of such findings to public knowledge.

This is a research-driven program where you will work closely with professors who are experts in their fields. Opportunities for our PhD students include:

  • Archives and Information Science: For doctoral students interested in pursuing academic careers in the archives area, with a focus on digital preservation or curation and archival ethics, accountability, and appraisal issues.
  • Information Behavior: For doctoral students who seek to understand how people plot a course through complex information ecologies including digital environments, and how such ecologies can respond to their ways of thinking, feeling, and valuing. A special emphasis is placed on behaviors of children and youth.
  • Health Information Behavior and Health Education Interventions: For doctoral students who wish to investigate the information practices and behaviors of health professionals, patients, caregivers, and consumers.
  • Social Information Systems: For doctoral students who will investigate issues related to the design and use of social information systems, focusing on the impact of social media on people’s information behavior.
  • Web-based Information Systems: For doctoral students interested in studying, designing, and implementing web-based systems for representing, retrieving, extracting, and disseminating relevant information.
  • School Librarianship: For doctoral students interested in teaching, research, and administrative experience in a top-ranked, competency-based School Library Certification Program designed for school librarians and school library supervisors.

Degree Requirements

This PhD degree requires a minimum of 54 credits beyond the master’s degree with a total credit minimum of 72. A minimum of 36 credits must be taken in advanced course work. The student must receive a letter grade in each course taken in this 36-credit requirement, except for the teaching practicum course.  

An additional 18 credits are required, which must be applied to dissertation research and writing; however, regardless of the number of credits taken, no more than 18 credits for dissertation research and writing may be applied toward graduation. The grade for these credits will appear as an “S” on the student’s transcript. In order to register for, and successfully complete, dissertation credits, students must show evidence of work toward the dissertation by completing the Dissertation Credit Tracking Checklist and updating it at the end of the term.  

The minimum of 36 credits of course work, all of which must be on the graduate level, must be distributed as follows: 

  • 3 credits: LIS 3000 Introduction to Doctoral Studies
  • 9 credits: 3000-level doctoral seminars offered by SCI
  • 3 credits: LIS 3950 Teaching Practicum or FACDEV 2200 Practicum on University Teaching
  • 6 credits: Courses in research methodology and statistics
  • 6 credits: Courses in cognate field
  • 9 credits: Courses may be:
    • 3000-level independent studies or doctoral seminars offered by SCI (maximum of 6 credits)
    • Additional 3000-level doctoral seminars offered by SCI
    • Additional cognate courses (up to 6 credits)
    • Additional research methodology courses
    • 2000-level courses in SCI (subject to approval by the students’ advisor)

For full degree requirement details, visit the Library and Information Science course catalog.

Admissions Requirements